Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is a type of treatment commonly used to heal sports related injuries. Ice or another type of cold application is placed on the location of the injury to offer the individual pain relief and other benefits. Cryotherapy treatment for sports injury is often used as initial first aid to help reduce symptoms such as inflammation, pain and swelling. Cryotherapy can also be used along with heat therapy after the initial injury stage has passed.
The Different Ways Cryotherapy Is Applied
There are several different ways that the many various forms of cryotherapy can be applied. The type of cold therapy that is chosen will be dependent on the location of the injury as well as the type of injury.
Most people are familiar with the ice pack. This is simply a container that holds ice that is crushed or chipped. Some of the commonly used containers are plastic bags, ice bags and towels. Ice packs are typically more efficient that frozen gel packs because ice packs stay cooler longer.
An ice bath is another effective cryotherapy treatment for sports injury. A large container like a tub is filled with ice, and is the best method to treat bony areas of the body.
Other cryotherapy methods include:
- Ice massages
- Gel packs
- Cold packs
- Coolant sprays
This type of therapy has proven to be beneficial right after an injury has occurred and during rehab. Pain relief is the most noticeable advantage to using cold therapy. Although the exact reason why cryotherapy reduces pain is not known, it is thought to be attributed to:
- The pain threshold is raised
- Endorphins are released by the cold application
- Nerve transmission is reduced
- The sensation of the cold is greater than the sensation of the pain
Another effect of cryotherapy is the reduction of swelling and bleeding. Once the skin’s surface has cooled, the blood vessels become narrow. The reduced blood flow lessens swelling in the area. The decrease in swelling allows the muscle to move more and reduces the loss of function in the injured area.
Cryotherapy treatment for sports injury, not to be confused with heat therapy, can be very effective in healing certain injuries. Make sure to not overcool the area, and schedule an appointment with a chiropractor to learn about cold therapy methods that may benefit you.
Acute sports injuries can cause the loss of function in a body part that is not properly treated. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Renee White of Champion Chiropractic and discover how cryotherapy can heal your injury.